“Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”  Mahatma Gandhi.

We all know the statistics or can quickly find them at the Gun Violence Archive http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/. How can one not grieve the 39,650 gun related deaths and injuries that have occurred in 2015 alone. If that doesn’t cause one to pause and say a prayer maybe the 554 children, 1,975 teens, or the 265 mass shooting will wake people up to the fact that we are killing and injuring each other with guns in a way that no war since Vietnam has equaled. Even terrorist haven’t been able to do to us what we are doing to each other.

Mask by B. Brecht

I am a great believer that compassionate policy has the ability to change thousands, if not millions of lives with the stroke of pen. I also know that bad policy has the ability to cause pain and suffering for equal numbers of people. As much as I would love to believe that our Congress and political leaders have the best interest of the people in mind when they do their jobs I have sadly given up hope that it is true when they produce legislation to stop the CDC from actually studying the underlying causes of gun violence. Therefore I believe it is up to We The People to be the change we know must occur and change our families, our neighborhoods, our states, and our country one small community at a time.

I’m interested in hear what people think we could do as small communities to stem violence that does not involve Congressional action since we know they are unwilling and incapable of doing anything. Is there anywhere we can find common ground that doesn’t require a policy change or political action? If you love your guns and don’t want to give them up is there anything you would be willing to do in your community to help eliminate gun violence without discussing the use of more guns? If you share my belief that we should decline our 2nd amendment right to bear arms is there anything you can do in your community to decrease gun violence that doesn’t involve trying to take guns away from those that love them?

We need to put aside our self-importance, our fear, and our love for guns and consider the victims of violence involving guns. Surely there is some common ground at the community level that would allow us to put aside our interest in individual rights and consider the value of human life.

If you are interested in being part of the solution and joining the conversation you can do so here or on padlet.